Report: Immigrants becoming more Danish

September 13th, 2013

This article is more than 10 years old.

Second-generation immigrants are more integrated into Danish society than their parents, new report concludes

A new report by the Rockwool Foundation shows that descendents of immigrants are displaying different patterns of integration than their parents and previous generations. 


The research contains an analysis of non-Western immigrants' integration into Danish society by looking into various factors such as marital patterns.


"We can see that the second generation of immigrants are not as different from Danes as the first generation may have been," Jens Bonke, a senior researcher at the Rockwool Foundation, told Politiken newspaper. "This closer relationship was in some ways expected, but we were surprised that it is so tight."


READ MORE: Who really IS an immigrant anyway?


One of the report's major findings is that descendents of immigrants are both marrying and having children later in life than their parents. 


According to the report, the average Danish woman marries at 28. While the average age of marriage among Turkish first-generation immigrants was 21, the average age for marriage among Turkish descendents was 23. A greater disparity was found among the Lebanese, with the first-generation getting married at an average age at 21 and their descendents waiting until age 27. 


A more Western perspective
Bonke attributes these changes to higher levels of education and increased adaptation to Western norms.


"Danish men and women marry much later because they receive more education," Bonke told Politiken. "And this mentality is adopted by second-generation immigrants as well. If you want an education, it will cost you time."


On the opposite side of the marital spectrum, the report also showed that immigrant descendents are divorcing at higher rates than Danes. Approximately one in three couples aged 25-54 from Turkey, Pakistan, and the former Yugoslavia have experienced divorce. By comparison, the Rockwool report says that divorce rate among Danish couples in the same age bracket lies at one in four.


Bonke explains that the higher divorce rates among immigrant populations is in part due to Danish couples being more likely to have children outside of marriage. 


"Danes have a trial period before getting married – test out the market and see what fits the best," Bonke said. "This is not entirely the case for immigrants."


Though the study reported that immigrant populations from Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia were the populations most integrated into Danish society, variations within the groups are inevitable.  


"There continue to be groups of immigrants and descendents that face problems in keeping up to par with the Danes," Marie Louise Schultz-Nilensen, another senior researcher at Rockwool Foundation, stated in the report.


READ MORE: Immigrants closing education gap


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